Prosecutors in Minneapolis set to recall expert on police use of force at Chauvin trial

Prosecutors are expected to call back to the witness stand on Wednesday an expert in the use of force by police in a bid to show jurors that former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin disregarded his training when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during last year’s deadly arrest.

Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant Jody Stiger began his testimony at Chauvin’s murder trial on Tuesday, calling the fired former officer’s use of force in the May 2020 incident “excessive.”

“Once he was placed in the prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased his resistance and the officers … should have slowed down or stopped their force,” Stiger said, referring to Floyd.

Floyd, a 46-year-old man, was handcuffed and lying face down in the street during the arrest as Chauvin pinned his neck to the ground. Eventually Floyd stopped breathing. The incident was captured on video and Floyd’s death prompted protests against racism and police brutality in many cities across the United States and around the world.

Chauvin, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges, arguing that he was following the training he had received in his 19 years on the police force. Three other officers on the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting murder and will stand trial later this year.

The county medical examiner has ruled Floyd’s death a homicide at the hands of the police, and noted that Floyd had also taken the fentanyl and methamphetamine before his death. Chauvin’s defense has argued that Floyd’s death was a drug overdose, while prosecutors have said medical evidence would contradict that.

Lieutenant Johnny Mercil, who teaches the proper use of force for the Minneapolis Police Department, told jurors on Tuesday the neck restraint applied by Chauvin was unauthorized. Officers are trained to use the least amount of force necessary to subdue a suspect, he said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in Minneapolis and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Will Dunham)

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